Mercurius Politicus

A blog (mostly) about early modern history

Category: Other periods

Carnivalesque XXXVI


From Monday, January 21 to Saturday, February 16

Fellow Bloggers, there is no need to fear,

For weeks (forsooth) I have toil’d at my desk;

Scouring all things early modern in the Blogosphere,

To bring you this edition of Carnivalesque.

Nemo me impune laceffit.

The man in the moon

Christopher Thompson writes on William Gilbert, rector of Orsett prior to the English Civil Wars, who contemplated the possibility of life on other planets. Meanwhile Inkhorn discovers what Robert Burton had to say about little green men.

More on other early modern Fox Mulders can be found in David Cressy’s article on Early Modern Space Travel and the English Man in the Moon.

The Puritan revolution

Roy Booth searched for pamphlets about the the civil war attacks on Cheapside Cross. What he discovered confounded his expectations – one of the highlights being a puritan plan for a replacement after the old cross had been demolished.

Nancy Shoemaker writes – in a wonderfully illustrated article – about the importance of the whale in the lives of the Plymouth colonists. In the same issue of Common-Place, John Fea writes about Presbyterians in love.

A close reading on reading

At Serendipities, a woodcut from an emblem book sparks wider thoughts on the nature of reading in early modern Europe. For more on emblem books, check out the English Emblem Book project, the German Emblem Book project, or the OpenEmblem portal.

The chronicles of William Hone

Vince Hancock presents a regular podcast inspired by the almanac of William Hone, which looked at folklore and other interesting tidbits from fifteenth to eighteenth centuries.

Prating prelates

Roy Booth blogs about a preacher in the 1680s struggling against the temptations of chess – as the preacher puts it, “it is a great Time-waster”. No doubt some of us would say the same today about blogging… Meanwhile I post about a more pompous preacher from earlier in the century, Henry Walker, and how he was caricatured in royalist pamphlets.

Oh, how cruel the volley

A haunting ballad about the battle of Ticonderoga prompts Tim Abbott to re-tell a literally haunting ghost story about the Black Watch.

For God and trade routes

Headsman posts about 26 Christian martyrs, executed in Japan in 1597.

Nasty, brutish and short?

Melvyn Bragg leads discussion in a recent episode of In Our Time about Hobbes, Rousseau and the social contract. Greg Afinogenov also posts on Hobbes and the fragility of the social contract.

Court in the act

Charles Bainbridge blogs about Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella.

De Nachtwacht

Jen at Diary of 1 investigates Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, and how it has taken on a life of its own.

There is lately printed and published

The recent addition of 2004 deaths to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography includes a number of eminent early modern historians. But is the DNB’s verdict final? Mercurius Rusticus considers Conrad Russell, while Oxoniensis looks at Christopher Hill.

Cardinal Wolsey reviews David Childs’s biography of the Mary Rose – Henry VIII’s flagship and now thankfully preserved for the foreseeable future thanks to a National Lottery grant of £21 million.

Kristine Steenbergh reviews Germaine Greer’s biography of Anne Hathaway. Meanwhile, you can hear Greer talk about the book in a Guardian Unlimited podcast.

And finally…

An alternative guide to Early English Books Online, courtesy of Sarah Redmond at LOL Manuscripts: highlights include posts on how to read black-letter print, understanding early modern religious iconography, and some less well-known images of the world turned upside down

Licensed and entered according to the Act for Printing.

London Printed by N.P., 2008

Carnivalesque – reminder for submissions

In just over a week I’ll be hosting the next edition of Carnivalesque, the early modern blog carnival. This is just a reminder to get your submissions in.

Whether it’s a post by another blogger you really liked, an interesting website related to the period that you’ve come across, or one of your own posts that you’re particularly proud of – it doesn’t matter, send them all in! You can submit them via the Carnivalesque site.

Cheapside cross

There’s an interesting post from Roy Booth over at Early Modern Whale, about the vandalism of Cheapside cross during the early 1640s before its eventual pulling down in 1643. Roy’s image of the cross prompted me to go to EEBO to have a look for other images, which threw up a couple of interesting things.

First, the woodcut Roy reproduces from a 1643 pamphlet, The Downe-fall of Dagon, or, the taking downe of Cheap-side crosse this second of May, 1643, appears to have been recycled. An identical image appears in The Dolefull lamentation of Cheap-side crosse, or, Old England sick of the staggers, from 1641. Here are the two pamphlets alongside each other.


So if nothing else, this is an interesting example of printers recycling woodcuts.

But funnily enough, given that I have recently been posting about John Taylor, I think there may also be a Taylor connection.

  • In January 1642, The dolefull lamentation of cheap-side crosse: or old England sick of the staggers was published. This was printed for F.C. and T.B. – in other words, it is highly likely that the undertakers for this were the same as two of the three for Taylor’s pamphlet. The pamphlet has the same Puritan middling sort stereotypes, listing the weavers, box makers and button makers who support the vandalism of the cross. It then shifts into direct speech by the cross, lamenting its fate.
  • In 1642 there also appeared The resolution of the Round-heads to pull down Cheap-side Crosse, which is sometimes attributed to Taylor (the reference to tub-preachers in it makes this plausible). This too was printed for F.C. and T.B. and is a satirical address by a roundhead, mostly covering their various hypocrisies, but ending with the ambition to level the cross.
  • In 1643 there appeared the subject of Roy’s post, The Downe-fall of Dagon, or, the taking downe of Cheap-side crosse this second of May, 1643. This was printed for Thomas Wilson, so there is no link with Taylor’s earlier printers. But the pamphlet does recycle the woodcut from The dolefull lamentation, and there are also other similarities – the similarity of the cover layout, the cross addressing the reader directly, similar themes, and both say that the cross’s full name is Jasper Cross. It’s possible of course that this is another author riffing on Taylor’s original – Taylor had fled to Windsor then Oxford in March 1643, so the text would I suppose have had to be sent back to London for publication. But even if this is the case it shows the creation of another niche genre – laments by crosses! – in the wildly creative times of the early 1640s.

UPDATE – in response to Roy’s comment, here’s another image of vandalism from A dialogue between the crosses in Cheap, and Charing Cross in 1641 (see my comment below). A close look shows it’s a drawing of the cross from the other side (the statues at the top are reversed).


Carnivalesque XXXVI

I’m hosting the next edition of Carnivalesque, covering the early modern period, in mid-February. Any suggestions for interesting posts to include would be welcome – either e-mail me or use the submission form. Thanks in advance! I’ll be posting a couple of reminders nearer the time so do bear this in mind if you find anything interesting in the coming weeks.

The current edition of Carnivalesque, covering ancient and medieval history, can be found at Highly Eccentric’s Atol is þin unseon.

Cliopatria awards 2007

The 2007 history blog awards are now up. My particular favorite was Errol Morris’s series of posts on two photographs of the Crimean War – one with the cannon balls on the road, one with them in the ditch – and his quest to find out more about them.

But there were no early modern blogs that won awards… hopefully that will change next year!

Conference roundup

I am snowed under with work – both of the history and bill-paying kind – at the moment but I hope to be posting in a bit more detail over the next few days on what I’ve been up to. I have been spending a lot of time delving into popular politics in the 1640s so there should hopefully be some of my thoughts on various books and articles by Andy Wood, and some bits and bobs in terms of primary sources I’ve been researching. And as ever there have been the distractions, like a French cookbook I found on Early English Books Online and a new book on Cromwellian parliaments by Patrick Little and David Smith. So if I get the chance there may be a bit on those, too.

In the meantime, here is a selection of early modern history conferences for the coming months helpfully pulled together by Christopher Thompson, Mercurius Rusticus and Oxoniensis.

Last post until October

Well, the big day is nearing. I leave for Cornwall tomorrow evening straight after work (for which my boss has very kindly organised a senior management away day at a central London venue, so that I have to lug two heavy bags across the Tube network. Thanks boss…). I’m just praying for good weather for the wedding day itself on Saturday! The planning is done, more or less, the suits booked, the DJ briefed, the house tidied, projects at work handed over, I’ve even put a Wikibreak template on my Wikipedia user page… and I’ve also got to abandon this blog until October.

I’m surprisingly sad at doing so. It’s become something of a ritual to check my statistics a few times a day, and the excitement of starting to get comments – and realising I’ve got readers! – has been amazing. It’s been fun seeing what searches have referred people here, too. Various searches for John Adamson’s Noble Revolt have been what’s driven most of the traffic here in the past month or so, but there have also been some more obscure ones:

  • thank you letter grandfather
  • churches in north monmouthshire
  • killing in the name of god
  • dying in the name of god
  • a perfect politician

I’ve also discovered I have an authority of 8 on Technorati – not so bad given I started this in July. And I’ve been really pleased to discover who else is out there blogging about history. Gavin Robinson over at Investigations of a Dog, Sharon Howard at Early Modern Notes, and Roy Booth at Early Modern Whale have been particular inspirations, but there are lots of you out there, and I’m been really excited to discover all your blogs. But most importantly, starting this blog has made me realise just how much I missed the world of history. 5 years in the world of work has been far too long. It’s massively confirmed to me that I was right to apply for a postgrad course, even if only part-time, and even if at this stage it looks unlikely to lead to anything more concrete than personal fulfillment (nothing wrong with that).

So, I’ll be back in October, at which point I start my Masters. I’m hoping to keep up regular posts, both about the experience of returning to university after quite a while, and about the topics I’m studying.